Speaking to the media in Abu Dhabi after meeting with his counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said, “An important development has cropped up. I have learnt through our intelligence sources that India is planning a surgical strike against Pakistan. Pakistan is fully prepared to respond to and defeat India’s designs. I warn our eastern neighbour, we are aware of their mindset and we are aware of their designs and Pakistan will respond.” Terming it a “serious development”, he further elaborated that India is already “trying to seek tacit approval” from what Qureshi said were “important players who they consider to be their partners”.
Briefing the media on volatile LoC situation, DG ISPR Major General Babar Iftikhar said two UN Military Observers were on-board the vehicle when it came under fire at 10:45am. The vehicle was damaged in the attack. However, both observers were rescued and safely evacuated to Rawalakot. According to Gen Babar, the UN vehicle was on its way to meet Indian ceasefire violations’ victims in the Polas Village in Chirikot Sector.
Slamming India for targeting innocent civilians and UN peacekeepers across the border, he condemned the Indian Army for its naked aggression. “It must be noted that the UN vehicles are clearly recognisable even from long distances due to their distinct make and type and clearly visible markings,” he said. “Such illegal and unlawful acts, against all established international norms, signify mal-intent of Indian Army to target not only innocent civilians residing along the Line of Control but UN peacekeepers as well,” said Gen Babar. He said the Pakistan Army stood in solidarity with UNMOGIP officials and appreciated “the selfless services rendered by all members of UNMOGIP in discharge of their UN mandated duties.”
The United Nations confirmed that a vehicle of the UNMOGIP was hit by an “unidentified object” near Rawalakot on the Pakistani side of Line of Control (LoC)in disputed Kashmir region, but the occupants were not injured.
“The Mission is currently investigating the incident,” Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq said in response to a question at the regular briefing in New York. He said the incident occurred when UNMOGIP military observers were conducting routine monitoring activities near Rawalakot as part of the Mission’’s mandate to observe and report on ceasefire violations at LoC in Jammu and Kashmir. “UNMOGIP personnel and the driver were not harmed but the vehicle sustained some damage,” the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, in the weekly media briefing, the Foreign Office spokesman said India was resorting to ‘a new low’ by specifically targeting a UN vehicle carrying two officers of the United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) from across the Line of Control.
“The reprehensible act of unprovoked firing by India on the UNMOGIP officers is indicative of a new low in the conduct of Indian occupation troops. Pakistan strongly condemns continuing CFVs by India in clear violation of international law the 2003 Ceasefire Understanding and against all established humanitarian norms and professional military conduct,” the spokesperson added.
Meanwhile, Qureshi sounded hopeful saying the issue of UAE ban on visas for Pakistanis should be ‘resolved soon’ and in this regard he was meeting with senior officials of the UAE Intelligence for further discussions. As he wound up his two-day visit to the UAE, Qureshi said further discussions on the issue were expected, though he did not explain what the UAE concerns were related to.
Qureshi said, “The Pakistani community and our diaspora in the UAE have contributed significantly to the UAE’s progress and development and it is acknowledged and appreciated and we are grateful for that. There are some issues of concern that I discussed and I am expecting their resolution.” The issue was raised when Qureshi met Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. The Foreign Office said the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere adding that Sh Zayed Al Nahyan also accepted an invitation to visit Pakistan. “Praising the hard work and dedication of Pakistani professionals and workers in the UAE, Qureshi acknowledged their positive contribution towards progress and development of the UAE as well as Pakistan. He discussed with his counterpart matters pertaining to Pakistani diaspora’s welfare and stressed the need for further strengthening people to people linkages between the two brotherly countries,” said the Foreign Office after the meeting.
Qureshi also underscored the significance accorded by Pakistan to its fraternal relations with the UAE — a brotherly country and an important regional partner. The two foreign ministers reviewed all aspects of bilateral relations and exchanged views on regional and global issues. “Foreign Minister Qureshi elaborated the worsening situation in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and the precarious security situation in South Asia. He also outlined Pakistan’s consistent efforts to support peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan,” added the Foreign Office. Both foreign ministers agreed to enhance the existing strong bilateral ties, in particular in the areas of economy, trade and investment. Qureshi assured his counterpart of active participation in the Expo 2020 and appreciated the UAE’s leadership for its consistent support to Pakistan, especially during COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, in a series of tweets, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Moeed Yusuf said, “We have very specific and reliable intelligence of Indian plans to attempt surgical strikes against Pakistan. We know that India is deeply unnerved because its acts of aggression against Pakistan through state-sponsored terrorism and blatant disinformation based propaganda have been exposed.”
In another tweet, he said India’s desperation has reached absurd levels if they think they can strike a united and proud nation that is a nuclear power. “We have informed the world that we know exactly what India wants to do. We also know that some capitals were already aware.”
In yet another tweet, Moeed said, “We remind the world that peace is a collective responsibility. The world must prevent India from destabilizing the region in its attempt to divert attention from its domestic troubles. Let there be no doubt that Pakistan stands for peace but if provoked, our armed forces are fully prepared to thwart any aggression on our homeland and teach our enemy the lesson they deserve.”
Meanwhile, a delegation of Taliban Political Commission (TPC), headed by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, called on Prime Minister Imran Khan at the PM House. Speaking on the occasion, the prime minister said the intra-Afghan negotiations provided a historic opportunity to the Afghan leaders for achieving durable peace and stability through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. “The discussions focused on progress in the Afghan peace process and the way forward,” a statement from the media office of the prime minister said. Reiterating that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, the prime minister expressed the hope that the Afghan parties would continue to build on the recent positive developments in the intra-Afghan negotiations.
He underscored Pakistan’s consistent support to an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement. He also underlined the need to be vigilant about the role of spoilers, who continue to make attempts to disrupt and derail the peace process. He expressed concern over the high level of violence and called on all sides for reduction in violence leading to ceasefire. He said return of peace and stability in Afghanistan would provide a strong impetus to economic development, regional integration and connectivity, benefitting Afghanistan and the region. The TPC delegation’s visit was part of Pakistan’s serious efforts to facilitate the Afghan peace process to achieve a peaceful, stable, united, independent, sovereign and prosperous Afghanistan.